Development of an in vitro keratinocyte model for use in the study of HSV specific cytotoxicity.
Infection with herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the most common precipitating factor in the development of erythema multiforme (EM). It is not known why only a few of the many individuals who experience recurrent HSV infection also develop herpes-associated EM (HAEM), although a difference in the HSV-specific immune response has been postulated. The purpose of this study was to compare the HSV-specific immune response of individuals with HSV infection alone with that of individuals with HAEM. There were 21 patients in each of the two groups. Four parameters of the HSV-specific immune response were examined: (1) anti-HSV IgG titers were measured by ELISA; (2) antibody neutralization was assessed using a plaque assay; and (3) antibody-dependent complement-mediated cytotoxicity, and (4) antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity were investigated using a previously described in vitro HSV-specific cytotoxicity assay. No statistically significant differences were detected between the two patient groups. Thus, a difference in these HSV-specific immune mechanisms does not explain the development of HAEM in some individuals with recurrent HSV infection.